I’m often told by readers of my movie reviews that my grading seems “harsh”, “too hard” or “not giving the movie enough credit”. But that’s OK, let me explain.
As I approach my 100th movie review, the facts bear me out on my grading system. I’ve given exactly zero “F” grades and only a handful of “D” marks over the years. The grade in which I’ve handed out the most at the conclusion of my reviews? “B” marks–to include the B- and B+ varieties as well.
So what does a “B” movie grade mean from me? Does a “B” mark deserve to have you spend your hard-earned money to see it in the theater? Or should you wait until it hits Redbox or Pay-Per-View?
I rate “B” movies as worth seeing in the movie theater for two reasons. One, a “B” grade is above average, thus, justifying the price of admission for a movie ticket. Secondly, I think many readers of my reviews can come to a different conclusion (and grade) than me on a film’s success or failure.
Our variance in disagreement, I suspect, may be up to 1/2-letter grade either higher or lower. Therefore, a “B-” grade from me on a movie may actually be an “B” or “C+” rating from you–at times. I get that. There are Michael Bay enthusiasts and supporters of the director, who love all his work. I have seen enough of his work to judge his lack of creativity and diversity in his films than most. Does this mean Michael Bay needs to work harder than other directors and starts off at a disadvantage with me? Yes, and no. He needs to work harder because Bay’s films have become stagnant and predictable (although one of my all-time favorite movies is his 1996 hit “The Rock”). But Bay doesn’t start off with a lower grade, he earns that on his own by the film’s ending with his product.
Lastly, I rate movies a “B” grade to separate the good and very good films from the great and outstanding pictures. It’s a separator. A difference maker. If I gave every good movie an “A”, it would not send you the right message–on which films are the best out there and truly deserve to be seen in asap.
So I may be a hard grader–and I do give good films a “B” mark. But these films are still worth the price of a movie ticket in my opinion. And you may find these “B” grades inflated or lower than what you’d rate them personally. However, more times than not, we will agree in my review’s narrative and be left only to discuss a proper grade–not the success or failure of the actual film. But I handout “B” grades to help you realize and separate good storytelling from exceptional works.
My next column will discuss “A” Movies.
© 2014, Patrick. All rights reserved.
"Patrick, you are my go-to guy when it comes to the box office". - Judy O.